What You Need To Know Before You Come To Colorado

The centennial state provides a perfect mix of urban culture, natural wonder, and yes, some environmental oddities. These tips will ensure you have a great trip to Aurora, Colorado, and beyond.

The Altitude

They call it Rocky Mountain High for a reason. The oxygen level in Aurora is about 15% lower than it is at sea level. Above 8,000 feet, that can increase to 25%. For many, acclimating to increased elevation is easy with few to no side effects. Some, however, will experience altitude sickness, which can include headaches, fatigue, dehydration, and sometimes nausea. To ward off these side effects, take it easy the first couple of days of your visit, moderate your alcohol consumption, and drink plenty of water.

The Sunshine

If you've never been to Colorado before, you may picture a winter wonderland in your mind, and that's true to a certain extent. Aurora averages about 60 inches of snow every year (with more in the high country). The bleak skies don't stick around, though. This is a local point of debate, but many say Colorado averages more than 300 days of sunshine every year. Whether that number is exaggerated or not, the sun is ample and formidable here. Make sure to pick up some sunscreen for your trip, yes, even in the winter.

Getting Around

Being in the geographic center of the country has its advantages. You’ll most likely be flying into Denver International Airport (DEN), the third busiest airport in the world! Take advantage of train service from the airport to various metro area stops. There's also a bevy of convenient rideshare and taxi services from the main terminal. Also, check with your hotel to see if they offer shuttles, many do. There are plenty of bus options that go directly to the high country, and in town, you can take advantage of the many RTD bus and light rail routes. Colorado is very car friendly if you want to drive yourself, although 4x4 vehicles are recommended in many high-country destinations during the winter. If bike riding is your passion, Aurora is flush with bike trails, and many cities have bike lanes installed for rider safety.

What To Pack

In short, everything. Weather patterns in Colorado can be unpredictable. A 75-degree day can quickly devolve into a 25-degree blizzard and back again in a flash. Bring plenty of layers and jackets, appropriate shoes for hiking and water activities, sunglasses, hats, refillable water bottles, sunscreen, lip balm, and of course, your phone/camera to capture all of the state’s majesty.

A young couple shares a tabletop grill used for Korean BBQ in Aurora Colorado

What To Eat

Again, everything. Colorado is known to be an incredible culinary state. Our southwestern roots make us a leader in Mexican cuisine. Also, being in the heart of rancher country provides some of the best steakhouses in the world. You may be surprised to find that Aurora, boasting the most diverse community in the state, is a world unto itself, featuring more than 250 restaurants with cuisine from around the world. Yes, you can find great sushi in Colorado! Also, you may be wondering what a Rocky Mountain Oyster is… We’ll just say it’s for the adventurous eater in your party.

A flight of colorful beers from Six Capital Brewing & BBQ located in Aurora Colorado

What To Drink

Colorado is easily one of the beer capitals of the US. The Centennial state ranks 3rd in total breweries, 5th in breweries per capita, and 3rd in total barrels of beer produced yearly. From small-batch brewmaster creations to the towering Coors Brewery, Colorado is known for its suds. Aurora is home to several breweries that are sure to delight the palate.

Where To Stay

Cater your stay to the activities you love with options across the front range. Aurora is home to hundreds of properties for any budget, led by the world-class Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention center. Mere minutes from DEN and a quick commute to downtown Denver, the Gaylord Rockies offers 500,000 sq ft. of meeting space, eight incredible restaurants, spectacular events, shopping, and more.

What To Do

You’ll never run out of engaging activities and meaningful cultural experiences in Colorado. All major professional sports leagues are represented here, and a rich assortment of museums, performance art spaces, theaters, and unique Colorado venues as well. Catch a game or a concert. Visit a farmer’s market or have an elite shopping trip. You’re sure to fill your itinerary even if the “great outdoors” isn’t part of your preferred experience.

Is Colorado Safe?

Across the board, Colorado is safe for all travelers. Mountain areas, in particular, have very low crime rates, but even the major metropolitan areas are safe for travelers, with incidents pacing near the national average. Of course, it's essential to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings anywhere you go.

Nature Is Life

In 1893 Katharine Lee Bates penned “America The Beautiful” while inspired atop Pike’s Peak. Purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain aside, Colorado features some of the best skiing in the world, elite rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and rafting. Enjoy our many lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and trails galore. From majestic moose, bears, mountain lions, wolves, and elk, to countless birds, trees, and plants, Colorado is a paradise for nature lovers. It’s a good idea to keep your distance from wildlife, stay on trails, and most importantly, follow safety guidelines when it comes to fires.

Enjoy your time in Aurora, Colorado! Here's a link to our official visitor's guide.



About the Author
David Jacobson